While job-specific professional skills always look great on your CV, employers are increasingly looking for ‘soft-skills’ in candidates. These can be anything from being able to demonstrate you’re a good team player, to having great flexibility or strong organisational skills; they’re the characteristics that essentially make you, you!
Boosting your soft skills can give you a unique selling point and a competitive edge over another candidate – they may even be instrumental to your career success, so it’s definitely worth adding these to your CV or mentioning them in an interview – just make sure to provide specific examples that support your claims. . Here are just a few of the soft skills in particular demand, and some examples of how you can show them off!
This is often one of the most commonly sought after soft skills, as communication fundamentally affects relationships between colleagues and clients. Whether they’re writing a memo for their boss or explaining something to a colleague face to face, a great communicator will be able to adjust their tone and style depending on the situation or task. In a job interview, if you’re asked to give an example of good communication skills, you could highlight a time when you have resolved conflict or successfully pitched an idea. Remember as well that the interview itself is a way for you to demonstrate your effectiveness as a communicator – so practise explaining the points you’d like to make calmly and clearly before going in to the interview.
Starting a new job usually means learning new ways of doing things. Potential employers love to see a candidate with a positive attitude towards developing new skills and adapting to suit the role. To highlight your adaptability, you could explain the ways you have learnt and grown throughout your career, or talk about a time you have had to learn something new to solve a problem in your personal life, for example, learning a new language to get by in a different country – don’t miss valuable evidence of soft skills by taking a narrow view!
Teamwork and collaboration
Most jobs will require you to work as part of a team. Being a ‘good team player’ essentially comes down to being someone who can work well with others, someone reliable, who works hard to achieve a common goal. If you’ve played in a sports team or worked as part of a project team, these are great examples of team skills in action. Employers will occasionally ask about a time when you’ve had to deal with a difficult team member, this can also tie into your communication and adaptability skills.
If you’re looking to develop your soft skills, it’s worth noting that, like any technical skill, soft skills can be learned and developed. Here are a few ideas to help you to build on these skills and put you on the path to finding your dream job!
- Volunteer work – Working for a charity is a great opportunity to gain experience and provides a talking point to discuss how your involvement helped you to develop as a person e.g. “Volunteering at Jersey Hospice Charity Shop helped me to improve my teamwork and communication skills as it required me to work closely with other volunteers, to sort through donations and assist customers.”
- Take a course – There are lots of courses out there that could help you boost your soft skills. We would recommend looking at www.skills.je. Here you’ll find everything from volunteering to training, as well as a ‘Course Finder’ function to help you find exactly what you’re looking for!